As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.
As an Indigenous person who didn’t grow up in an Indigenous community, I was only introduced to baked bannock (a form of bread) and fry bread later in life. I tried them for the first time when I was 18 years old after rejoining my home community. That year I encountered many cultural shocks and adjustments. My aunt and two cousins chuckled as I tried bannock for the first time. In that year I ate both baked and fried versions of bannock. Some Indigenous People make what is called fry bread and others make what is called baked bannock and fried bannock.
When we look at the use of bread in Scripture, we find that it’s almost always made fresh and consumed the same day. Why? Because before we had grocery stores that sold bread in bulk, people tended to make things fresh daily and then eat it. Some types of food were preserved, but most food was not preserved because of the nature of storage, consumption, and availability.
When Jesus fed the 5,000 with loaves of bread and fish (Matthew 14:13-21), for example, the fish back then was likely preserved with salt but the bread was always made fresh either in the marketplace or in someone’s home. I am sure when people were traveling far, they might have to eat bread that wasn’t as fresh. But we know that fresh bread always tastes the best. It tastes good even when you don’t put anything on it.
In the Old Testament’s sacrificial system in the tabernacle, and then in the temple, fresh bread was part of that form of worship to God. In the Exodus wilderness story with Moses, we see God providing manna from heaven to feed the people (Exodus 16). The instructions were to only take what you needed for that day, and the next day fresh manna would come again. We even see that this manna had the taste of honey to it. God could have given them bread or manna that just tasted plain, but in his heavenly wisdom God added the taste of honey. God is so good to us in so many ways.
Whenever I reflect on bread, whether it’s fresh baked bannock or fry bread or the bread in these Bible stories, the words “daily bread” flash across my mind. Why? Because Jesus used these very words in Matthew 6. Jesus knew bread was meant to be eaten fresh. We all know fresh bread tastes best.
In Matthew 6, Jesus instructed his disciples on how to pray. In addition to the issues of hypocrisy, forgiveness, and temptation, Jesus told them to ask for their “daily bread.” Placing this in the bigger context of Scripture, I understand this to mean that we aren’t to look too far forward into the future with regards to our worries. All that worrying only produces anxiety and extra stress that we aren’t meant to carry.
By having us ask for our “daily bread,” Jesus wants us to remember that, just as many people throughout time have made and eaten bread fresh, we too are to approach life in this way. It is easier to handle life with this mindset, even with the extra pressures of COVID-19 or whatever else we are going through. When we step outside of this “fresh bread” mindset, we often allow extra pressures and worries to overwhelm us. I know this daily asking is easier said than done, but I also know that things tend to go smoother when I have taken this approach to life.
When I was first introduced to my biological family 34 years ago, I was also introduced to bannock and fry bread. It tasted good back then and still tastes delicious today. My prayer for you is in conjunction with Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. I pray that no matter what you are going through, you will try to remember that bread tastes best fresh and life is easier to handle when dealt with fresh. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself in your worries, anxieties, or troubles. Take them one day at a time and approach life like fresh bread intended to be made and eaten daily. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).
About the Author
Parry Stelter is originally from Alexander First Nation that is part of Treaty Six Territory. He’s a Sixties Scoop Survivor. He’s an author, speaker, writer, scholar, workshop facilitator, ‘Blanket Exercise’ facilitator, pastor, chaplain, and ambassador of the Gospel and ambassador of his fellow Indigenous People. Visit his website at www.wordofhopeministries.ca